Mental Health vs. physical health

I went to the doctor for an annual exam yesterday (thank you really cheap health insurance for making this financially possible) and my doctor said something that struck a chord.

I told her I felt sluggish and tired. She asked about what I did for work and I told her about my day job and how I do other things to make some extra cash. I told her about my other responsibilities and how I am working so my fabulous husband can graduate from school. And then she asked me, “So what do you do for fun?” Cricket. Cricket. I was stumped. Uh, what do I do for fun?

This question should be so easy, but it evaded me like what did you have for breakfast 3 ½ weeks ago. “What do you do for fun?” should easily be as answered as “What do you do for work” but I had to think. Well, she’s a doctor so I figured lying to her was not going to help me any. So I shrugged and said, “By the time I get home from work and make dinner I am exhausted and my husband is usually working on homework.” I felt a little embarrassed. I do not even have kids to put into the mix yet. And just the regular stuff was getting me down? I felt like a weakling.

She then proceeded to tell me that no wonder I was sluggish and tired; I needed to fill my cup. Yes, I needed to fill my metaphorical cup. She gave the visual of always pouring the cup (meaning us and what we have to give), but never filling it back up. Eventually what we have to give will dry up.

Huh. I had never thought of it that way before. I worked and worked and focused on the end game, but I did not realize that I was not rejuvenating enough so I could keep on giving.

Her remedy? Spend one hour a day doing something you like. Simple. But is it? When I do something I like such as read a book or play a game, my mind is constantly flooded with the ever-flowing mental to-do list of everything I have to achieve to keep my life in motion. The ultimate feeling I get when I want to do something I love is guilt. Shouldn’t I be doing something important?

But as she explained refilling your cup is important. And it is vital. Have you ever heard of a breakdown? That is when your cup has run dry. Very dry.

We spend so much time going and everything is on fast forward. We eat fast, talk fast without any chance of breathing. I can’t tell you how many times I have eaten lunch at my desk at work because I have too much going on to even take a minute and eat.

So while I expected her to say my body needed some pill, my doctor surprised me and told me to take care of myself emotionally and do something I love. So if you catch me reading a book this weekend, I’ll tell you “Doctor’s orders.”